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The conservative establishment strikes back at Bachmann (and Perry)

Just two days after Michele Bachmann's Ames Straw Poll victory -- making her the GOP front-runner in Iowa -- the Wall Street Journal editorial page takes a shot at her record (or the lack thereof).

[H]er attempt to position herself at all times as the anti-establishment outsider has made her seem on occasion less principled than opportunistic. She quickly distanced herself from Paul Ryan's Medicare reform when it came under liberal fire, even as she purports to be the scourge of uncontrolled spending. Her recent opposition to the debt-ceiling deal on grounds that GOP leaders should have insisted on first passing a balanced budget amendment, while holding only the House, was a political fantasy.

Americans are already living with the consequences of electing a President who sounded good but had achieved little as a legislator and had no executive experience. Mrs. Bachmann will have to persuade voters she isn't the conservative version of Mr. Obama.

Ouch.

But the conservative WSJ editorial page also questions Perry's electability.

The questions about Mr. Perry concern how well his Lone Star swagger will sell in the suburbs of Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the election is likely to be decided. He can sound more Texas than Jerry Jones, George W. Bush and Sam Houston combined, and his muscular religiosity also may not play well at a time when the economy has eclipsed culture as the main voter concern.

Its conclusion is similar to Ross Douthat's in his New York Times column today: Is there anyone else? The Journal writes:

Republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party's disparate factions and offer a vision of how to constrain a runaway government and revive America's once-great private economy. If the current field isn't up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. Now would be the time.